04 January 2009

Baked Chicken

J and I have developed this really bad habit in the last seven months when we go to the grocery store. Sometimes I have a pretty detailed menu in hand, complete with a shopping list, but most of the time I have a menu in the broadest sense of the word, and we kind of piece it together as we shop. We know how unproductive this is, but we have persisted in doing it this way, anyway. Even when we have the detailed list, we either are derailed (damn you Trader Joe's and your delicious organic products), or we become super lazy as the week progresses, and end up eating out, leaving things like the vegetables or all of the bread to rot (damn you Trader Joe's and your highly perishable organic products), which is disappointing and not exactly encouraging, then it leads to less grocery buying, and thus more eating out. By the end of 2008, we were eating out quite a bit, and our fridge didn't smell very nice. There kept being "too much to do," though, and it just felt too overwhelming to fix it at the moment.

Jointly, we have decided to ditch this habit in 2009. Partly because I am so dead broke right now that I cannot afford to eat out more than once a week (we do breakfast with friends on Sundays, and even in this economy that's a non-negotiable for me), and partly because of my resolution to be more careful with what we bring into the house. Cooking for ourselves is a good way to ensure that even if we're not being 100% organic or green and healthy, at least we know what's going into our meals, and the waste that is associated. I said jointly and then I listed my reasons...but don't worry, J is jazzed, too.

So for the month of January, hopefully until this becomes habit, I will be documenting what we eat, if we stray from our goal, and maybe some notes on how delicious and easy a meal is, or how I will never put it near my mouth again.

Tonight we used some chicken that had been sitting in our freezer for a while, some couscous that had been sitting in our pantry for a long time, and some fresh green beans. We've been out of town for a while, so even though we took a trip to the supermarket today, our goal this week is to rid ourselves of the last of the 2008 perishables. We paired the meal with some of the Yuengling that we brought back from PA. We have a lot of Yuengling.

This meal was simple enough, very tasty, and I'd say it was fairly healthy, too (although portion sizes...? I didn't bother to check). We almost always buy organic chicken breasts - I don't like dark meat, and the Perdue thin sliced breasts cook up pretty easily - those were what I* cooked today. I basted about 1 lb of chicken breasts using a little less than one Tbsp. of butter, and then covered them with Progresso breading mix. I baked them at 400° for 12 minutes, covered, then flipped them over and baked for 8 minutes, uncovered (does it matter that I uncovered them? Probably not. I basically forgot to put the aluminum foil back on...).

I saute├ęd the green beans, with a little bit of olive oil and some minced garlic, for about 6 minutes, although I think they could have used another minute or two - I kept reading warnings about how nasty overcooked green beans are, and don't do it, and I got nervous. I also got to use the new paring knife J's mom got us for Christmas, which was exciting.

The couscous came in a box.

My other secret desire is to take better food pictures. Today's was kind of a quickie (I forgot until just as J and I sat down to eat), but I'm going to try to be better about it in the future, at least for new recipes.

*While J is actively involved in the decision as to what we eat, I tend to do most of the cooking. This is because I abhor cleaning up. This doesn't mean my boyfriend doesn't cook, or can't cook. This also doesn't mean that he doesn't help. He chops, mixes, and grabs the wok from our tall shelf for me, sometimes. But mostly he does the dishes, which is why he is possibly my favorite person in the world.

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